Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Oops! Illinois State Police Politics

War On guns has the story of the Illinois State Police seizing a Hemi-powered Charger and giving it away to the guy in charge of the "Illinois State Police Merit Board" as his "company car." In Illinois, we refer to this as "The Way Things Work Around Here." You may have heard Rod Blagojevich refer to teaching people "The Way Things Work Around Here" or possibly a related philosophy of government, "How We Do Things Here."

The Illinois State Police are the issuing agency for the much-hated Illinois FOID (Firearm Owner Identification) card, but they don't spend much money or manpower on getting the cards issued. They've been building up a backlog of applications for a few years now, and in the past year the average has reached heights greater than 70 days' wait for FOID card renewals, despite the state law that sets a hard 30-day limit for issuance. That was a serious issue, because in Illinois it's a felony to possess so much as one round of am
munition without a valid FOID card, and "I applied for a new card with 60 days to spare, but the ISP has now exceeded their legally-allotted time to issue my new card by 40 days" is not a legally-sanctioned excuse.

Now the ISP says they've added people to the problem division, cranked up the mandatory overtime and cut through the backlog, so their new average is less than 30 days. That's good news, I guess, though if they'd decided to pack the whole thing in and forget the cards completely, I'd have played along with a smile on my face. I have to apply for a new card this week, so I'll be interested to write about how that goes later on, but what made me chuckle was the soft-focus article in the Springfield State-Journal Register*, which somehow failed to report on the backlog that threatened people with felony arrests, but put the supposed solution of the problem on its Sunday front page! Remember, kids, there's no such thing as media bias, especially in your local media friends.

The best part of the story is the awkwardly-inserted word "unexpected," as in
"An unexpected backlog in Illinois FOID card requests and renewals that began in October . . . ."
Unexpected? Seriously? Began in October, huh? What could have been going on in October of 2008 that would have led to a giant spike in the number of people buying guns? Whatever could it have been? Well, who knows why these things happen, really? Best not to think about it too much. Hey, there's another one!
"Typically, after hunting season winds down each fall, FOID applications slow down, which allows workers who handle FOID cards to catch up. However, things never slowed down last fall. In fact, applications unexpectedly skyrocketed, as did the volume of firearm purchases in Illinois."
Is there anyone out there reading this who was surprised when that happened? I just wish I could figure out some reason why people might have started buying guns and ammunition in October . . . . continued until November, then actually accelerated . . . . and continued buying guns and ammunition by the pallet up to the present day. If only there were some way to explain it. And while I'm being a sarcastic jerk, I'd like to take this moment to point out one more thing this means: when the Brady Campaigns and ICPGV's of the world said that all this panic buying and hoarding was meaningless because it was just gun nuts hoarding a few more guns, they were lying. In Illinois, gun owners already have FOID cards. The only people who would have needed a new FOID card when Obama was elected were people who were buying their first guns and ammunition. The normal, "expected" spike in the fall is down to renewals from hunters who have forgotten to get it done before the fall deer season starts; any dramatic spike above that normal number represents brand-new gun owners in Illinois courtesy of Barry Obama.

*Lovingly known as the "Urinal-Register" to all true Springfieldians.


Chip said...

My son applied in October, his just came last week.
Also in today's Daily Herald
Worth reading

Bruce B. said...

Where's my fancy police-seized "company" car? I work for the state too. Some are more equal than others I guess.

I hate to say it but a co-worker received his first-time FOID card a week ago on a 3 week turnaround time. Apparently they have gotten it down to less than 30 days but probably only on the apps received in the last month. What did all that overtime cost? The FOID system is another wasteful, useless state program that needs to be cut out of the budget. The NCIS replaces it and is more effective.

Bruce B. said...

That's NICS- sorry. I do enjoy that show :-)

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